I Can Has Another Holiday?

I’m back from New York City and L.A., just in time for the launch of I Can Has Cheezburger’s 2012 daily calendar. My two cats feature in this most “awsum” publication. I’m a tad miffed that my cats got published with almost zero effort. All they had to do was look kewt. You can purchase the calendar through Amazon. Learn LOLcat-speak with this translator. (No purchase necessary for that.)

So…New York and the Romance Writers of America conference were nothing short of amazing. Thank you to the lovely people who showed up at our Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood workshop, The Road to Novel Completion. I hope you had as much fun as we did. For conference highlights, check out the RSS’s daily recaps:

  • Arrival Day with Anne Barton (who not only WON a Golden Heart, but also landed a book deal during conference!!!)
  • Day 1 with me (who had a fashion faux pas involving blue cake icing)
  • Day 2 with Hope Ramsay (fabulous Grand Central Publishing author who became a grandmother during conference)
  • Day 3 with Sara Ramsey (who was also a GH nominee this year and is probably having a very cool time in Germany right now)

Post-conference, I celebrated Fourth of July in true American style with NY native Jen McAndrews and my Brazilian friend Gabriela Lessa. Fireworks and fine diner food. Perfect. I stayed in a beautiful boutique hotel on West 44th Street. I’m convinced it’s haunted, but then I do have a very fertile imagination. On my way downtown to Greenwich Village, I spent a shamefully long time shopping at discount chainstores Marshall’s and TJ Maxx. (Actually, I’m not that ashamed — I came home with some amazing bargains and one not-so-cheap Italian leather handbag, but a heavily discounted one nonetheless.) I spotted Aussie designer Wayne Cooper’s clothes on some of the racks.

I officially became addicted to Broadway. I saw four shows, forsaking meals in order to do so. Wicked – wonderful. (Thank you to Kim MacCarron for making that possible.) How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying – Daniel Radcliffe; joyous. Catch Me If You CanAaron Tveit as Frank Abagnale Jr — great voice, great costumes and set design. Memphis – I’ll be honest and say it was my least favourite show, but I *adored* the ’50s dresses. The music was written by Bon Jovi’s David Bryan. The beginning of one song, to my ears, was slightly Bon Jovi-esque but otherwise faithful to the era.

A trip to the States would not be complete without some form of star-spotting. We bumped into Jim Parsons of Big Bang Theory fame as he exited the John Golden Theatre. My sister is gonna be sooooo jealous when I show her the video I took…of the back of Jim’s head. Earlier on my trip, my dear friend Tina Ferraro and I had a close encounter with Topher Grace in West Hollywood. He dined next to us at a chi-chi cafe on the Sunset Strip wearing mirrored aviator glasses and a sunburnt face.

I left with a few regrets — not stopping for a salty caramel ice-cream in Greenwich Village, not visiting the Guggenheim, not getting better close-up shots of the Chrysler Building’s foyer (I was kind of chased away by a vagrant), not having quite enough hot dogs.

Times Square -- obviously not for those who want some peace and quiet

Kim MacCarron and a conveniently placed Empire State Building

The Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood workshop. L-R: Liz Talley, me, Jennifer Bray-Weber, Tamara Hogan, Autumn Jordon, Anne Marie Becker

Harlequin SuperRomance author Liz Talley. Isn't she SuperGorgeous? She kept us in line moderating the workshop.

The Pond - Central Park

Macarons at a chocolate shop opposite the Simon and Schuster building. (I will return for you, macarons!!!)

The view from the Metropolitan Museum's rooftop garden. Jen McAndrews very kindly treated me to the extraordinary Alexander McQueen exhibit.

Grand Central Station, where Jen and I experienced the miracle of the whispering gallery. We each stood in corners diagonally opposite each other, about five metres apart, and whispered to the wall. Remarkably, we could hear each other say, "Can you hear me???"

Jen, Gabi, and the Empire State Building

The Chrysler Building - as I mentioned ad nauseam to Kim, my favourite Art Deco building.

Bah humbug to the rude man who mocked me as I snapped this photo of "the pointy building."

Erica O'Rourke (whose excellent book TORN is out now, just a year after winning the Golden Heart!), me and Kim.

Bryant Park -- moments before I was chased away by a gardener with a leaf blower.

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Da da da-da, da da da-da-da…

In precisely 137 days I’ll be packing my motion sickness medication and heading off to New York. Mmm, I can smell the hot dogs and hear those honking taxis already!

Not only will I be attending Romance Writers of America’s 31st annual conference, I’ll be presenting a workshop alongside four of my talented Ruby-Slippered Sisters: Autumn Jordon, Anne Marie Becker, Tammy Hogan and Jenn Bray-Weber. We’re going to share our know-how on finishing a novel amid life, death and other catastrophes. It’s going to be fun, interactive workshop with giveaways galore–if you’ve signed up for the conference, we’d love you to join us.

This is the foggy, blurry picture I took of the Chrysler and Empire State buildings in spring 2005. I'm hoping I get a better shot next time around.

In other workshop news, my very elegant friend Annie West will be discussing ‘Sex, Love and Passion: The Appeal of the Romance Novel’ at the Ultimo Library in Sydney this Friday, February 11. Visit her website for more details on Annie’s library appearance and her USA Today bestselling books. Ooh, and buy her latest release, Protected by the Princeit’s a stunner.